Midway through my second set on the bench press my arms decided it might be a good time to go on strike and the bar started plunging towards my chest.
Humanity’s ancient friend fear rescued me with an almost instant adrenaline rush and a simultaneous thought of, “this is going t0 hurt.”
That primal turbo boost was enough to keep me from dropping the bar upon myself and I successfully placed it upon the rack.
I sat up, shrugged my shoulders and thought, “no harm, no foul” and then carefully took a couple plates off the bar and took a moment to catch my breath.
Is She Still Sexy?
“Can you see her profile? Is she still sexy?”
I looked at the two guys on the machine next to me and figured I am probably around 20 years older than them and smiled.
The question is one I have heard asked a million times by a million different men and women.
Undoubtedly it is a question that has been asked or thought about for as long as class reunions have been taking place but it is a little bit different than it once was.
Social media has made it easier to maintain links to our past and to have a more direct line of sight into how we are all aging.
“I heard she had a baby. What did that do to her?”
The guy who asked the question notices I am looking in his general direction and tries to explain.
“Women change when they have babies, it is not wrong to ask.”
I tell him it is not my business and follow up by saying that talking like that isn’t going to endear him to her.
“Dude, do you think I am stupid. I wouldn’t say that to her face.”
“Discretion could be your friend if you wanted.”
He looks at me and tells me I could mind my own business.
“I was, but you’re too loud to ignore.”
This time there is an edge to my voice so I make a point to walk over to the other side to hit a treadmill. There is no need to get into a fight with a fool and I know if I stick around I am going to want the last word.
Flashback 10 years and an old friend asks me when women are too old to be called sexy.
“It happened to you after your second kid, you were about 35 I think. Right?”
Anger flashes in her eyes and she tells me she is not happy that she is going to turn 40.
“It is better than the alternative.”
“You didn’t answer the question.”
“You’re still sexy now. Ask me in ten years when you are about to turn 50 and I’ll tell you if you are still sexy then. Hell, you can ask me in twenty and I’ll answer then too.”
Her eyes narrow and she tells me she can’t decide if I am being honest or I am a jerk.”
“It is more about how you feel and what you project. I am serious. Having babies changes all of us.”
“No it doesn’t, it is not the same for men.”
I have a response for this but I choose to remain silent. It is not a real discussion nor a debate. She is speaking aloud about her own deal, better to let her speak and let it go.
The Start Of Summer
Summer is always my favorite time of year but the start of this one feels like I am walking through rough brush in a pair of shorts.
I am not entirely sure why but I have my ideas which is part of why I am back at the gym.
Earbuds in, music playing, eyes closed as I do another set.
The clinkety-clank of the weights rouses me from the depths and I stare at my reflection.
For a moment I can almost see that 19 year-old kid looking at me. Cuts I haven’t seen in a while are starting to resurface and I am beginning to wonder how much progress I have made.
It feels like maybe I am further along than I thought and then I take a harder look and think maybe not.
The guy next to me nods in solidarity.
“This getting old stuff sucks. Diet is everything now and I like to eat.”
“Yeah me too.”
“Wait until you’re my age, it gets better.”
“How old are you?”
I laugh and say I am not that much younger.
He says he had me pegged for about 45.
“Your hair is really dark still.”
I shrug my shoulders and silently wonder why he picked 45. It was probably an arbitrary guess and I suppose I ought to take a it as a compliment, even if I thought 45 sucked.
Bachelor life has resumed for a month or so and the house feels so quiet.
A week ago the dog would have sat next to me while I typed this out. A bottle of Shiner in my hand, I’d look at him and tell him more big changes are coming.
He’d wag his tail and and I’d ask him if I ought to grab another beer or maybe switch to Scotch.
He’d wag his tail again and I would say he is right and decline to grab another beer or Scotch.
“You ought to know the reason I am not drinking another beer isn’t because I have a 49 year-old prostate. I can drink two at this time and still sleep through the night. No waking up because I have to pee…yet.”
Another tail wag and I smile, there is at least one person here that won’t debate everything I have to say.
Sometimes I wonder when it will be time to jump off the horse and take off the armor to have a real conversation.
Face-to-face, where we can see expression, hear intonation and know with more certainty what is truth and what is speculation.
My gut says it is coming and logic supports it but impatience makes me want to push to make it happen sooner than later.
Somewhere in the echoes I hear “soon, but not yet” and decide that works for me.
Don’t care if I am crazy for listening or if that is a sign of clairvoyance that is working on my behalf.
Sometimes the best you can do is let things unfold as they will and then ride the wave to shore.